Milestone alert! This time last year, Chris joined Hive NYC as Director from his previous post at The New York Hall of Science. Since then, we’ve joined forces with Mozilla, nearly doubled the size of the network, tripled the staff at Hive HQ, and we held our first annual, mandatory meet-up so we could report on the state of Hive NYC and collectively begin to set the agenda for the year ahead.
We were hosted by the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum at their new satellite branch in Harlem, a storefront-turned-education space, transformed by Todd Oldham to resemble a treehouse.
We started things off with a quick activity to help us get a read on network messaging: upon arriving, members were asked to share some of the keywords and phrases they use to describe what the Hive Learning Network is. Here’s a visualization of some of the more common terms that popped up:
The meeting began as usual with an ice-breaker–an opportunity for us all to learn a little more about each other. At this meeting in particular, we had over 60 people including some new faces. Three questions were posed, and members paired up to share their answers. A few share-outs:
What does connected learning mean to you?
- Technology and education coming together
- Connecting virtually, connecting with communities
- Making connections by interest, as well as intellectually and emotionally
- Something of purpose
- Taking risks
- The end of the disparity in resources and allocation
- More opportunities for learners to make and create
- Learning as a lifestyle
- No textbooks, no tests
Cooper-Hewitt shared a brief overview of their HASTAC-winng DesignPrep badge project and then Seb Chan, Director of Digital and Emerging Media shared more about his focus on rethinking the roles of museums–the things they collect, the forms exhibits take, how to create more participatory experiences that present collections in new ways and engage learners of all ages.
Chris, Leah and I then quickly reviewed how far we’ve come in the past year, where we currently stand, and some initial thoughts on where we think we can focus in the coming year. A few key points:
- As a major project of the DML initiative, we have deeply informed and continue to be guided by the principles of Connected Learning. Hive can help put meat on the bones of this research framework, and we’ll keep exploring ways in which we can explicitly show our growth and success within this model.
- As a project of Mozilla, we’re embracing our identity as webmakers! Saturday’s Summer Code Party was just the beginning, and we will continue to look for opportunities to leverage new tools and technologies to help transform youth from users of the web to makers of the web.
- People are paying attention. We’re thrilled to be in a position to help inform individuals and collaboratives in other cities that are considering adopting the Hive Learning Network model. But we can still be better about communicating and sharing our great work.
- We’re cultivating an ecosystem. Through our work with the DOE, the NSLA, TASC, 2Revolutions, and other partners and collaborators, we’re broadening our reach and our opportunities to grow and innovate.
This lead to a robust “town hall” discussion. We wanted to open the floor for questions, and for those in the room to raise issues or concerns and share their own experiences and feedback to the growth and changes we’ve all faced over the past year. What have we done right (so we can continue doing it)? What have been some epic fails (so we can address and iterate)? What are members confused or unsure about? The discussion seemed to fall into three main themes:
- Youth (how can we get better about reaching them, via youth councils, social media, more events and touch points for youth to engage with Hive at the meta level)
- Funding (what makes a strong proposal, how to scale projects, and how to generally build a sustainable model for the network that isn’t motivated by funding)
- Organizational infrastructure (what systems do we need to create to enable better collaborations, sharing of resources, sub-committees, etc.)
- Create a Hive NYC youth committee
- Cultivate greater Hive NYC contribution to Connected Learning principles and Mozilla Webmaker mission
It was a lively discussion, and it’s not over! We’ll keep unpacking and collectively developing solutions to ensure we’re operating as effectively and as awesomely as possible.
Thanks to all of our members for participating in our first annual State of the Hive!